The Association Applauds the Senate for Passage of the Great American Outdoors Act
Washington D.C. (June 18, 2020)- The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies is pleased to see passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422) through the full Senate yesterday, with a majority vote of 73-25. This historic bipartisan conservation legislation would support State recreation and parks programs, facilitate public access to outdoor recreation on state and federal public lands, and help rebuild much needed federal infrastructure that supports hunting, fishing, boating, and other aspects of the outdoor recreation economy.
“The Great American Outdoors Act represents a great commitment to increasing conservation and public access to the outdoors,” said Secretary Kelly Hepler of South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “Today, more than ever, our citizens need outdoor recreation opportunities that benefit their mental and physical health and well-being. The Association wishes to thank the Senate for working together to pass an important bipartisan piece of conservation legislation that will benefit our citizens and future generations of outdoor enthusiasts.”
This legislation would allocate billions to support outdoor recreation. First, it will provide $9.5 billion over the next five years to help the National Park Service and other federal land-management agencies address their maintenance backlogs. Second, it will provide full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), widely considered the nation’s single best funding tool for outdoor recreation, at $900 million annually.
On June 4, a companion bill to the Great American Outdoors Act (H.R. 7092) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) and approximately a dozen other cosponsors. Since introduction, H.R. 7092 has accumulated 64 bipartisan cosponsors. The Association looks forward to continuing to work with our conservation partners and members of the House of Representatives to expeditiously bring the Great American Outdoors Act to the House floor for immediate passage.
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies—the organization that represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies—promotes sound resource management and conservation, and speaks on important fish and wildlife issues. Found on the web at www.fishwildlife.org, on Facebook /AssociationofFishandWildlifeAgencies and on Twitter @fishwildlife.